Children diagnosed with autism and their younger siblings are less likely to receive childhood vaccines, putting them at risk for preventable diseases, a new study found.
The study says some parents remain concerned about long-debunked claims linking vaccines to autism, despite numerous scientific studies finding no evidence of such connections.
The study, launched amid declining vaccination rates and published in JAMA Pediatrics on March 26, 2018, said some parents are forgoing vaccines against:
The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared vaccination rates of children with autism spectrum disorder and those without, finding a 12 percent difference.
Lead author Ousseny Zerbo called this finding “very significant.” The Kaiser Permanente study found:
Fears of a vaccine link to autism are often traced to a since-retracted paper by former British doctor Andrew Wakefield published in The Lancet in 1998.
The study falsely linked MMR to autism and was later denounced by co-authors. Medical authorities “de-licensed” Wakefield for deceit. The debunked theory has been linked to drops in vaccination rates. Several measles outbreaks followed.
A study published in JAMA in 2015 determined no harmful association between MMR and autism.
The study involved more than 95,000 children. These child participants had older siblings with or without autism spectrum disorder. Researchers compared the risk of autism in children who were given the MMR vaccine and those who didn’t get it.
The results were same regardless of whether older siblings had autism. Results were also the same for children who were already at a higher risk of having autism.
In the most recent study, Zerbo and colleagues examined the records of 590,000 children without autism and 3,700 children with autism.
The information was taken from health care provider Kaiser Permanente locations in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington and Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin.
Researchers concluded that parents of children with autism have “vaccine hesitancy.”
“New strategies, including establishing or promoting a better dialogue among parents, health care professionals, and public health authorities, may be needed to increase vaccine uptake in populations with low uptake,” the study said.
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